Fact Service June 2011

Issue 25

Unpaid placements and internships rife

Almost half of employers admit that they do not pay students and graduates who join them for work experience placements or internships, potentially breaching minimum wage legislation.

According to research published by XpertHR, around four employers in 10 (44%) that offer work experience for students and graduates do not pay them a wage, while just less than four in 10 (38%) do not pay expenses; around a quarter (27%) pay neither wages nor expenses.

Even among those respondents that do pay, the amount differs significantly. Some pay the National Minimum Wage, while some pay above this rate, with the highest pay rate recorded by the survey being £10 an hour. At the other end of the spectrum, one respondent admitted to paying less £2.50 an hour.

Typically, the survey respondents offer placements lasting between eight and 21 weeks, although the maximum length highlighted by the survey is 60 weeks. Among those not paying a wage for internships, the duration varies from one week to one year.